Sometimes words are our only solace. Spilling out faster than we can make sense of them, numbing everything around us, us to everything around us, just so we can make sense of the world. To say, ‘Yes, this is the way the world is,’ even if the world is hell itself it cannot dispel this numbness, this rationality.
“Can you have your seaplanes scout around the next block?”
The fairies make tiny salutes from the cockpits of their miniature planes before buzzing around the corner and out of sight.
“Alright, let’s take a break.”
The sea has moved inland.
Toppled concrete buildings against each other, shattered windows, moss and vines and even the occasional flowers and trees growing up their beams and out of their fractures and faults. Flooded streets, fish darting through the currents beneath our feet as the shadow of our shipgirl rigging passes over them.
Setting my equipment down in the shade of a collapsed garage, I sit down and loosen the sweat-soaked clothes clinging to my body where the mechanical rigging was mounted. The fairies, having finished their reconnaissance, skim along the water’s surface with tiny nets, trying to catch fish from their seaplanes. I hope they don’t get eaten by the fish instead.
“Commander’s sent us new orders. We’ll provide support shelling for the first fleet.”
The shells sail past the horizon.
Before the smell of gunpowder has left my mouth, the concussion from another barrage courses through my body, across the water’s surface, clearing the air and soiling it again.
And again, booming, reverberating through the steel, flesh, and powder smoke on the water.
And then the ammo is spent.
The shockwaves dispersed, the smoke evaporated. The ringing in my ears and the lingering taste of gunpowder soon fade, too.
“Alright, let’s go home.”